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Lake of Childhood Dreams

Monday, July 13, 2015

What a wonderful vacation I've had! Reconnecting with family (our annual reunion is always around July 4th), beachcombing along the shore of Lake Michigan, riding my bike around, often with the company of my nephew from Portland who doesn't own a car and is (like so many in Portland) all about the bike and also catching up with dear old friends from high school and college.

I also met a challenge I held up for myself: Before leaving Michigan I would return to the lake of my childhood dreams, shed my shirt and SWIM! As a child I would spend my summers practically living in Lake Michigan as our home was only a couple blocks away. In the water my weight became an asset as I was so buoyant. I could swim until I was tired and simply float around on my back to rest. I loved to swim underwater especially, carefree, pretending at times to be a dolphin or to be swimming with dolphins.

As an adult I have sadly banned swimming for myself. At first avoiding going shirtless due to the self-consciousness of obesity and later, sadly, one of the few drawbacks to losing the weight I've lost has been the self-consciousness of loose skin. So after decades of not allowing myself to swim in Lake Michigan I vowed to return and swim in the lake at least once before my time in Michigan was over.

And as usual I procrastinated until the very last day. I dreaded this! But I was able to press on and engineered just the right way to do this: wait until it was near dinner-time and everyone around my parent's home was busy and scoot on down to the lake on my bike alone, walking to the most empty stretch of shore I could find...SUCCESS! No one around! Jumped in and WOO HOO!

It was wonderful! Laughed out loud over the shock of the cold and silliness of my reluctance all these years...!

Here's a weird side note: I've had a pacemaker since last March 2014 and my pacemaker results have been fine...up until this June. I have a history of atrial flutter which has been quiet until this June as my latest results are showing that I'm in afib approximately 50% of the time.

I didn't have a clue! My cardiologist said sometimes when this happens folks come in for a cardioversion...sort of an electrical jump start to restore proper cardiac rhythm. But since I was heading out for vacation I said I would pass on the cardioversion and see how things go. I'm sensing a possible fatigue, but am wondering if I'm overreacting as I've been busy driving long distances, biking and other activities. I ran all this by my cardiology NP and she didn't tell me I should limit my activities, just "it all depends on how you feel..."

Now I'm looking at a 3-day self-supported tour this upcoming weekend and wondering what to do. Life's too busy for this sorta stuff!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I'm so proud of you for putting the anxiety aside and diving in. Take good care of you a nd keep watch on that heart of yours.
    1343 days ago
    Oh dear. Here's some good white light juju prayers that your heart decides to play nicely. I hope you make the wise choice for your heart.

    and congratulations on taking that swim. I swam in that lake once - for a sea side gal that much fresh water was mind boggling!
    1368 days ago
    Isn't being in the water a freeing thing?! I love it and I'm so glad you got to re-live a childhood love of being in the lake.
    And ditto what everyone has said about your heart. Get that ticker checked out buddy!
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    1372 days ago
    Good for you my spark friend! Overcoming silly notions and engaging in life with zest!
    Swim, float, laugh-be happy.
    But do get that pacing checked out!
    1373 days ago
    Hi Don,

    On a recent trip to Chicago I saw many cyclist riding the bike path by lake Michigan. I can imagine what Don must have looked like riding along lake Michigan.

    Thanks for such a great story.

    1374 days ago
    How exciting about your lake swim! Re the afib, doctors and perhaps especially cardiologists would not support this, but there is some evidence of nutritional causes of and interventions for heart arrythmias. I have no idea if you are interested in exploring that route. I was diagnosed with an arrythmia years ago (which I took seriously because my father dropped dead of completely unexpected heart failure at age 63). After full cardio work up, 48 hr monitoring etc, they said I had an arrythmia... Which I already knew. Started talking beta blockers. I saw a naturopath, who put me on magnesium glycinate, and it went away!
    My understanding is that calcium and magnesium use the same uptake receptors, and calcium is preferentially absorbed. So taking a Cal-Mag supplement means getting very little, if any, magnesium. I take calcium in the morning, magnesium at night. And there are many forms of magnesium. The glycinate form is harder to find, but acts most specifically on smooth muscle tissue, including the heart.
    Just a thought, and sorry if this kind of info is of no interest to you!
    1374 days ago
    I just love your exuberant joy in getting that "swim down memory lane" in!! good for you, bet you leave that self-consciousness behind more and more.

    And: please get checked out. Your heart health is nothing to guess about.
    1374 days ago
    So glad you gave yourself the nostalgic treat of a swim in that lake. And I'm with JeanKnee about making sure your health is checked out. Not worth taking too big a chance on something as important as heart health given that June number! Take care of YOU, because you are worth it.

    And enjoy the ride! emoticon
    1374 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon that is AWESOME! You ROCK!
    1375 days ago
    Proud of you for following through on your commitment to yourself to return to the Lake of Childhood Dreams and enjoy its waters.


    Have to be honest about your reported fatigue. It concerns me. Your heart is nothing to mess with. Even if you feel that you have a reason for the fatigue, an optimally functioning body might not be experiencing the fatigue. You know that you were in afib 50% of the time in June.

    You are worth the time it takes to have it checked.
    1375 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1375 days ago
    Kudos to you for jumping in Lake Michigan and enjoying it once again!

    Hope all goes well with the pacer.
    1375 days ago
    I love the water, and have not spent any time in a lake or pool yet this summer.
    1375 days ago
    Welcome back to Broome County and have a great weekend trip. To follow up on what Linda said about flappy parts and stretch marks. At the beach or the gym everyone seems to be concerned about how they look to you, not how you look to them. Sure people who are unusually outside the mould in either direction will attract some notice, but people like us with our baggy badges of success have nothing to be concerned about.
    1375 days ago
    I'm so glad you jumped in the lake - good for you!!!!
    1375 days ago
    I grew up in Highland Park, just blocks from the Lake Michigan beach, so reading about your victorious swim had special meaning. As for the fib, I'm sure you'll listen carefully to your body's singles and do the right thing. Take care!
    1375 days ago
  • _LINDA
    emoticon at getting back in the water! Sure, you made sure it was as deserted as possible, but it was a public beach and people could have shown up at any time. Its an amazing feeling to break past your self imposed barriers to feel the thrills you experienced as a child. Taking a good look at people on the beach and you see all shapes and sizes. Men in particular don't seem to care how big their bellies are when they ditch their shirts. I haven't seen anyone in your position, with the loose skin, which unfortunately means obesity is still a primary concern. My sister called her stretch marks V for victory, her win over the weight loss battle, a very positive way to look at. She looks awesome in a bikini and wasn't afraid to wear one in spite of the pronounced stretch marks. Sometimes we have to get over ourselves to get ahead. You wear tight biking shorts in spite of the flappy thighs and leg skin. I wear shorts and T-shirts to the gym in spite of unsightly surgical scars on my arms and legs in addition to stretch marks and flappy skin.
    So sorry to hear you are back in flutter :-( -not a good %, but if you don't feel its interfering with your activity why not do what you have planned, your Dr. isn't restricting you.. As we have both said life is too short not to do the things we love!
    emoticon on!
    1375 days ago
    Have a great week!!!
    1375 days ago
    1375 days ago
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